Ironbridge Power Station's future: Call to look at all options and 'take care'
All options need to be explored when looking at the future of the Ironbridge Power Station, according to councillors.
All parties with an interest in the site need to be given a say in its future, says Councillor Nicola Lowery, Telford & Wrekin Council ward member for the Ironbridge Gorge.
She has welcomed news that there will be a meeting with representatives from both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Council in January to discuss plans for the site.
The station in Buildwas, is within Shropshire Council's boundary but its future will have a huge impact on Ironbridge.
Since its closure in November 2015, the power station has been under the control of Uniper, which is overseeing its decommissioning.
Councillor Lowery said: "I welcome this commitment from Shropshire Council to hold a stakeholder meeting at the start of the new year. The future use of such a major site must be approached with great care, sensitivity and collaboration between all parties involved.
"It is vital both councils and Uniper work closely together to ensure the World Heritage Site is considered as part of the proposals as it is will be instrumental in assessing the suitability of the possible uses.
"Earlier this year I attended a stakeholder meeting with Uniper which updated on the decommission, their approach to the demolition phase and have been working closely with Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Council on plans to limit the environmental impacts of demolishing the former power station.
"Whilst demolition will take place over the next few years it is imperative that we hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss where Uniper are to date in regards to exploring possible future uses and timescales on when they will be formally exploring and putting forward proposals for the site.
"The Ironbridge Gorge continues the draw many thousands of visitors a year to our region, but there is still further potential to raise the profile of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site status.
"The closure of the Ironbridge Power Station provides a rare and unique opportunity to expand our infrastructure."
Previously, Councillor Lowery has supported plans for a heritage rail link into Ironbridge, after Telford Steam Railway said it wants to extend southwards from its newest stop in Lawley into the gorge.
Conservative councillors have vowed to support the project and help the group get funding.
She added: "Both myself and Councillor Eric Carter, chairman of the Telford & Marches Strategic Rail Group, are working with Telford Steam Railway to ensure they have support from Telford & Wrekin Council in terms of constructing feasibility studies for their proposals. I have also written to our MP Lucy Allan regarding this matter.
"She has subsequently written to Network Rail and our rail minister to explore proposals for creating a heritage rail line using the existing rail network further
"There is a lot of interest in this site and I look forward to working closely with Uniper and Shropshire Council on this exciting project for our region that respects our past and presents a strong vision for the future of the former Ironbridge Power Station".